Friday, May 29, 2015

His Favorite Gal -with a twist and jab-

                                                                           Part Two
Grinning wildly, my dramatic friend plunked down hard in his chair and slapped his thigh.

“There ya go, in a shells nut Ain’t It, the story of her name.”

Clay finished his pop and tossed the bottle in the general direction of a growing pile.

“Well?” I asked.
“Well what man?” That’s it. Clay got up and added wood to the fire.

Typically, I enjoyed a full moon’s presence at camp. This time differed. It glared at me harshly as a judge and unsettled me. Tension in my head, jabbing a knowing and telling finger into my mind, provoked me. I pushed back and it ceased.

“Clay, that’s just a tiny part of what I’m after. Tell me about her spirit, heart, and mind. Tell me what she treasures and is willing to fight for, besides you, that is. What makes her unique and special?”

Clay got up again and emptied spent coffee grounds at the edge of the fire. They smelled like musty memories as they burned.

“Don’t get your boxers in a wad. I’ll tell ya more but it requires another pot of coffee.”

A cloud, acting as my defense attorney, ran a block on the judging moon so Clay turned up the lights before sitting. The air, cooling nicely, offered nice sleeping bag comfort for later but nothing for the feeling tip-toeing around my spirit. I also feared another shift by Clay.

“Alrighty Migizi, I’ll go for the one thing that colors her through and through but with a warning.”

“Why should I be warned brother?”

“With your feelings about tradition and spirituality…” Clay crossed his arms and another moth became intoxicated with lantern light. “Yah, you might go bonkers like that moth there.”

“Clay, please, before midnight already.”

Clay looked to the moon and back at me. The cloud, my lawyer, was in contempt of the moon’s court and ousted.

“Gal descends from a long line of medicine people, all from her mom’s side. You know, Midehwins. At age 15, under her ma’s wing, she was accepted into the Sacred Lodge as a ‘hopeful’ and spose to follow in the moc’s of her ancestors. Her mom gave up the society at 3rd level. After years of effort and proving, Gal also gave it up, 2nd level for her. Still wanna hear more? We can stop here and talk other stuff. Yah, let’s do that.”

Clay sniffed the air and whistled. “Coffee is soup so it’s on.”

Short hairs on my neck, stiff with paranoia, tried hiding from the moon.

“Dammit Clay, gimme some of that pot cleaner in a cup and tell me more.”

“You were warned.” He handed me my coffee, sat, and resumed.

“She gave it up for one reason, same as her mom, evil. The more gifted she got the more evil she saw, yup, saw it everywhere workin’ its deception, delusion, and destruction. Also saw the sacred battling against it. Said it wore her out just watching and feeling it.”

Clay paused, chewed his lower lip, and shook his head no and then yes.

“Okay, I’ll tell him but he ain’t gonna like it.”

“Who won’t like it Clay? Who you taking orders from?”

“Gal says that you got some serious bad medicine, curse like, tearing you to into 6 pieces. That’s why she stays so close to me, to protect me from you.”

Blinding pain stabbed my spirit and I collapsed.

Copyright © 2015 Migizi M. New Song. All Rights Reserved.

His Favorite Gal -with a twist and jab-

Chapter 8
Part One
Clay, smirking indignantly, shook his head at the request, not to say no but surprised at my gall. 

“Good that I’m dying cause if Gal finds out I told ya she’ll kill me. She’ll do you in so you best zip it and use the info for investigatin’ only.”

His words reminded me of his waning mortality. I assessed Clay’s countenance and general appearance. Recent time in the sun enhanced his dark skin tone and it masked his yellowing skin.

“Hey Clay, before you tell me…how you feeling, really?” 

“Truly, my liver feels the size of a cat that’s lounging next to my stomach and I’m tire of body but not mind. So let’s get to it.”

He chugged half his cola, grimaced as if sippin’ whiskey, and horned in on the frogs with his belch.

“Okay, so Gal was the only kid of her homely folks. As a baby she was gorgeous just as she is still, opposite of her parents. Yup, and born with thick hair. She came out of the womb with it snake braided already, so long, it was tied to her ankle till she could grow into it.”

Admittedly, I didn’t recall ever seeing His Favorite Gal without her hair braided that way minus the ankle reference.

Like me, and thinking Clay’s account was pure exaggeration, the fire sputtered and popped a glowing coal right unto my buddy’s lap. It rolled off and down to his crotch and burned through the nylon fabric of the seat. Plasticky smoke stunk up the air worse than Clay’s story.

“Hokee Pete! Almost branded my boys Ain’t It.”

“Clay, surely Gal didn’t tell you this story.”

“Right, it was her granny on her ma’s side. Elders don’t tell lies Migizi.”

“Oh no, never,” I said with a shit-eatin’ grin.

“Ain’t It! Stop or I’ll shut up.”

“Yah, okay, sorry. Now get going Clay.”

I lit the lanterns but kept them on low because the full moon poked his bald head above the horizon.

“So anyways, her Pa doted on her fierce like. Made his wife spoil that little Ojibweh princess. And she did it without complaint, good woman as she was. Yah, so in traditional fashion, they waited till Little Miss Gal was age five to name her. The day came and Gal wanted a name. Her dad was in the crapper shaving while ma braided the little one’s hair.”

A moth battered itself senseless against the globe of a lantern. Dizzy, it flop-flew right into the fire. The reverse of a rooster at daybreak, a Whippoorwill timed in on natures clock and formally announced night.

“Little Gal says to her mom while her Pa listened from the can, ‘I want a name, all the other kids got names. And mommy, who does daddy love more, you or me?’”

“Well bro, her ma was taken by surprise but gives answer by saying (Clay mimics a woman’s voice) ‘Your daddy loves us both very much but you’re his favorite gal and that’s just fine with me.’ Yup, that’s what she said Ain’t It.”

My ass-talking buddy got up and grabbed a dirty dish towel as a prop and continued.

“Dad comes out of the bathroom, wipes shave cream from his chin and chuckles, then proceeds to name Little Miss Gal.”

Clay deepens his voice while saying, “Ha ha ha, that’s it mother, that’s her name, His Favorite Gal, yup-yup.”

Copyright © 2015 Migizi M. New Song. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Lest One Fall

Still gloating in perceived victory from a debate with Sheriff, suspense slapped its hand over my mouth. Breathless, I waiting to see which spirit might emerge wearing Clay’s face.

The fire crackled with applause for a symphony of insects whose tempo increases while daylight drifted away. Clay didn’t blink.

Taking a gulp of air, I coughed my bud into fully phasing. His eyes, warming and moistening, looked to me and the act jostled a smile loose.

“What were you saying, Ain’t It? I blanked out for a bit.” Clay stood and stretched. “Aw shoots, who was it this time Migizi?”

Smugness tapped me on the shoulder as I remembered my rant and pride egged me on. I sat down and took a drink of warm pop so it wouldn’t be so obvious then answered.

“It was Sheriff, brother. I got into it with him when he took a nasty tone with me. But, I think he was okay at the end. And thus far pal, I have little in my notes for your eulogy. I find no helpfulness in what these spirit citizens of yours have shared. I regret going along with your plan.”

Wrinkles on Clay’s forehead huddled for discussion over my statement.

“So you wish I was back on that dope hunh, Migizi, to duck tape the mouths of the personuva-guns lippin’ off at ya. They’ll still be here in my gourd for me to negotiate with but at least you’ll be free of them.”

“Clay, that isn’t it. I just don’t see how it’s accomplishing what you wanted. They seem more deceptive and vague than anything. I simply prefer good ole Clay stay around and chat, bullshit and the like, talk about the highlights of your life.”

Big bullfrogs got into a bellowing contest by the water. Clay got up and brought the lanterns by us. They’d need lighting soon. It was a bit warm to be in a small tent so I hoped to stay up late conversing with Clay. I wanted to make up lost time. My buddy resurrected the fire from a coal the size of a dime and sat down.

“Ain’t It, it doesn’t matter. I ditched the drug so whatever happens, well, it happens. Let’s try to do what you said as long as we can before another hijacking happens. Ask me somethun to get me started.”

I swapped empty bottle with full, poked the fire for good measure, and went for it. I asked for an answer to a long held mystery for me, the history and story behind His Favorite Gal. Through the years, Clay and Gal refused answering and took pleasure in annoying me with the secret. This was the perfect time at last. I already had one victory and another would be great before bed.

“Take heed…” said a voice in my head, conscience I presumed. I didn’t listen.

“Come on brother, share the story of Gal’s name and tell about why you are still together,” I urged.

Copyright © 2015 Migizi M. New Song. All Rights Reserved.

Only Blood

And speaking of blood, mosquitoes showed up for their evening take if we’d give it. Sheriff looked for me to be insulted or provoked and unlike the bugs, I didn’t bite. Grabbing wood from the small pile nearby, I fueled both literal and figurative fires. 

I stepped away far enough to grab a few handfuls of cedar leaves. I tossed some on the fire and it crackled, hissed, and smoked away the blood suckers. Taking no chances, I got the bug dope ready and was glad Clay remembered it.

“Gonna be getting dark in a couple hours Sheriff. You want some of this bug repellant or are you going with the traditional stuff? Oh, that’s right, our ancestors, if here right now, wouldn’t think of using this. They’d be traditional.”

Sheriff glared at me and tensed up at my sarcasm but I kept on.

“Now what did their magic medicine for mosquitoes consist of? That’s right; they slapped the dammed things, covered themselves in mud, or stood next to smudge fires. Yup, then they died of lung cancer or consumption at age 30.”

“Half breed, only a half breed making fun of his heritage, right Migizi?”

“So we’re back on this again. Good, let’s discuss the shit out of this thing if you’re up for it Sheriff.”
“Bring it Apple,” said Clay under the influence.

I thought this persona, Sheriff, would have gone all culture-cop on me for using cedar the way I had. No, he went after the blood quantum issue, a favorite among traditionalists. 

“So Sheriff, you are among those who attempt logic with regard to making a case against mixed ethnicity. You attempt it and fail because of flawed logic and reason. You think and believe Native heritage is literally captured in the blood and diluted by mixing with another ethnic group.”

“Yes,” said Sheriff, “but about flawed…”

I cut him off and jumped in. Tossing more cedar on the fire, I forced it to flare. 

“Bullshit. Apart from physical features attained via genes, you peel the skin off and put the blood in a bowl, human is human and blood only blood, red at that. Oh-oh, I guess that makes all humanity Native.”

“Come on Clay, shift dam it.”

Despite my facetiousness he sat there silent and made fists so I pursued from a different angle. 

“Admit it Sheriff, we’ve both known so-called 100% natives who lacked the heart and spirit and non-native folk who exemplified the culture more through their actions. And another thing, I’m damned tired of the blatant hypocrisy of you traditional types.”

Clay’s posture changed slightly, he relaxed his hands and spine somewhat, so, I went on to finish my rant.

“Sure, wear your hair long, wear the jewelry, do the ceremonies, Pow-Wow, learn the language, and preach a return to the old ways as the save-all solution for all that ails us. Prideful, you condemn and ridicule others like me who have adapted and there you are, driving your cars, using high-end cell phones, buying smokes, alcohol, and dope. Bullshit I say and back the hell off if you can’t live the life as a purest. Those who try so hard to appear native aren’t, not in heart and spirit anyway.”

“Strong words Migizi,” said Sheriff, still controlling Clay. “I guess being half-breed has forced your hand maybe.”

Surprised that he backed off, I followed suit.

“Yup, if you only knew the half of it Sheriff, get it?”

Lightening the tension further, I busted out laughing and Sheriff chuckled at my pun. Stopping mid-chuckle, Clay’s eye’s iced over.

Craps! Roll the dice.

Copyright © 2015 Migizi M. New Song. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Shooting It Out with Sheriff

Clay, seemingly as himself, came back into camp and sat down. 

“MMmm, smells great Ain’t It. Not bad for being away from camp for so long. How long it been anyways?”

“Camp cookin is Native buddy, genetic, instinctual. Last time we camped? Maybe 6 years ago. Hell, I don’t remember. Shut up and eat.”

Clay didn’t buy beer as part of a return to ritual so I handed him a bottle of pop. All was well for a few minutes as we ate until Clay stopped eating his beans and stared into the fire. Nearby, a raven squawked and made whistling noises. A breeze rattled tree leaves and brought just a bit of evening coolness with it. Far away, a jetliner rumbled through the atmosphere.

“What Clay, no comment about your favorite bird the raven? He’s talkin to you.”

“Migizi, did you remember to offer tobacco and prayer for our campsite, fire, and food?” Clay asked.

“What? No, I didn’t. Clay you know I don’t use tobacco and follow all those tradition…” I stopped midsentence and looked at Clay intently. “Wait, who are you…again?”

“I could be offended that you have so quickly forgotten my name but I know you struggle with memory issues. It’s me, Sheriff. I’m told my services are needed and aware the term “red road” has surfaced.”

“Oh boy, here we go. How naïve to think this would go otherwise. Better roll with it,” I thought.

“Actually, Sheriff, it wasn’t a term. It involved a vision where someone was driving on a red road. It was symbolic, it being a vision and all. Now that you mention it, I’ve heard that term, as you call it, before. New Age, hippie types, coined the phrase I believe.”

“That’s right. Good that you know your facts about traditional ways Migizi. How much do you know about our culture and heritage? Hell, I know you don’t live it on a daily basis, why not?”

“Well Sheriff, I think I know a good bit about the culture and heritage. I’m well read. And about living as I do, I answer you with a question?”

“Yah? Okay, go for it.”

“You say you’re “traditional”, many do, and you joke about being considered a culture cop, an authority on what constitutes being traditional. Back in the sweat lodge, you spoke of making things right, justice, etc. Sounds noble. Is there a bible, encyclopedia, or dictionary somewhere that sets a standard and definition for what is traditional and culturally correct?”

Clay, possessed by Sheriff, leaned forward in his camp chair and slammed his paper plate of beans into the fire. Ashes and tiny red missiles of embers burst forth. Flustered, he sat back and thought before answering.
“Who are you to question me about such things? You have Ojibwe roots and genes but live as a Chimookemon, a pale skin, an apple through and through. You disrespect our ways as if ashamed of them. Well, I expect this from a half breed.”

I took a long drink of pop and smiled.

“Sheriff is it? Your words sound more like those belonging to someone who goes by Thorny. Surely Mike has mentioned him to you. You’re friends with Mike, right?”

It was my turn to make some pointed remarks and statements. Maybe it would snap Clay out of his spell. I thought of using the shotgun shell but restrained myself. 

“Yup, F-ing half breed. That’s you Migizi.”


Copyright © 2015 Migizi M. New Song. All Rights Reserved.